205 No. Fourth Street | Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801 | 225-387-5141 | church @ stjamesbr.org |                


Updates from the Vestry and/or Search Committee are listed with the most recent, first:

Posted on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 5:58:00 pm


Dear St. James Parishioners:

We reported at our May 7 Town Hall meeting that we would be starting an eight-step process to call a new rector. In case you missed this meeting, an outline of the eight steps, with an approximate time line, is provided.

Your Wardens are now happy to announce we, in consultation with Fr. Joe, have selected the co-chairs for our search committee. The co-chairs we selected are Helen Campbell and Trey Roberts. We believe they have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their service to St. James and are widely recognized by a broad cross-section of our membership for their dedicated service. We informed the Vestry of our choices at our May 15 Vestry meeting and received their vote of confidence in our selections. This completes step one.

Now, we are in step two. The Search Committee will have a total of 12 members including the co-chairs. We are now asking parishioners to nominate people they would like to have on the Search Committee. You may nominate as many people as you want, including yourself. The following members of St. James are not eligible to serve on the Search Committee:

  • any employee of the church or Day School;
  • Gerry Sulzer, Senior Warden;
  • Bill Hines, Junior Warden; and,
  • members of the prior search committee, who were: Patrick Broderick, Kent Caldwell, Don Capron, Judy Foil, Michael Fontenot, Lee Griffin, Lolly Martin, Marsha Wade, and Dan West.

All other voting members of the parish are eligible to serve.

Nominations can be made in one of five ways:

  • Nominating slips will be included in Sunday leaflets which can be filled out prior to or during the service and placed in the collection basket.
  • Nominating slips will also be placed on the table located in the Parish Hall foyer for completion and deposit in a collection box located on the same table.
  • Alternately, you can fill out a form included in the mail going out via U.S. Postal Service and mail it to the address on the form. (P.O. Box 126, Baton Rouge LA 70821-0126.)
  • You may also make your nominations by calling Sylvia Rabalais at 225-421-3549.
  • Finally, you can go online to submit your nominations. Simply click on About Us in the menu at the top of the page and select "Rector Search" in the drop-down menu. There will be a form on the page that appears. Fill in the form and click submit.

Completed forms may be submitted anonymously. The last day to make your nomination(s) will be Sunday, June 4.

In the next step, the Junior Warden, Senior Warden, and co-chairs will meet as required to select the remaining 10 members of the Search Committee from the parishioners' nominations list. The Wardens and co-chairs plan to present selected names for Vestry approval at the June 19 Vestry meeting. Expect another update on our rector search once we have achieved this milestone.

We are also happy to give another update on the restoration of our historic church. We have signed the contract with Durable Slate to perform the exterior work. The rear and front walls will be repaired first. Expect to see scaffolding at the rear of the church starting June 5, weather permitting. Scaffolding will not be used in the work on the front of the church. Work on the rear of the church should be completed by the time the Day School opens in the fall. Work on the side walls will also be performed using scaffolding. The entire project is expected to take 210 days to complete.

These are exciting times in many ways for our parish.

New Rector Search Process

The process outlined below comes from a preliminary meeting on May 4 with Canon Shannon Manning. Canon Manning will be providing guidance and assistance to our Search Committee throughout the search process. Broadly, this is an eight-step process. The suggested timeline is only approximate and subject to change.   

  1. The wardens select the committee co-chairs.
    1. It is recommended the chairs be of the opposite sex.
    2. Target: inform the Vestry of co-chair selections at the May 2017 meeting.
  2. Parish members are invited to submit the names of members they would like to have considered for committee membership.
    1. Certain parishioners otherwise qualified are not eligible to serve on the search committee:
      1. The junior and senior wardens of the parish
      2. Employees of the church or Day School
      3. Parishioners serving on the most recent Search Committee
    2. Committee members must be voting members of the parish and capable of making a significant time commitment for the duration of the search process, approximately one year.
    3. Target: submission of committee member nominations to close on Sunday, June 4, 2017.
  3. The remaining Committee members are selected by the wardens and the co-chairs from the compiled list of nominees submitted by the congregation.
    1. A total committee membership of nine-12 persons is recommended. 
    2. When completed, the Wardens present the Committee member selections to the Vestry for approval.
    3. Target: obtain Vestry approval of the Committee at the June Vestry meeting. Canon Shannon Manning will  attend the Vestry meeting to further describe the process in detail and answer any questions.
  4. The Committee spends the summer doing background preparation work with consultation from Canon Shannon Manning. Canon Manning will supply all the tools, material, and help needed to complete the search process.
  5. The Committee will conduct a parish survey and meet with parish focus groups to gain input to use in developing parish and candidate profiles. Target: early September start with early November completion.
  6. Solicit names for potential rector candidates from the diocese and the congregation.
    1. Candidates will be vetted by Canon Manning as the names are received.
    2. Target: Nominations will be received through December 2017.
  7. The Committee starts the selection process in early January 2018.
    1. Narrow the new rector list to 15-20 candidates based on their profile information provided by the diocese or reports by people familiar with the candidate.
    2. Conduct Skype interviews to winnow the list to 10-12 candidates for possible visitation.
    3. The Committee selects the top two-four remaining candidates for an onsite visit at their current location. These candidates must be vetted by the Bishop prior to the Committee’s visit.
    4. The Committee selects two-three of these candidates to make a visit to St James.
  8. The Committee, based on the all the information they have gathered including feedback by parishioners from the candidates’ St. James visit,  makes a recommendation to the Vestry of their choice for a new rector. Target: obtain the Vestry’s approval to call the Committee’s choice at the June 2018 Vestry meeting.


Posted on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 10:09:00 am


The Search Committee for the 24th Rector of St. James Episcopal Church is expected to be named, soon. Bookmark this page to follow updates which will be posted as soon as they become available.


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A Prayer for our Search

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a rector for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCP, p. 818


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